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Investor group to acquire Sabena Technics

French maintenance specialist Sabena Technics is to be sold to a consortium comprising Bpifrance, Power Corporation of Canada’s Paris-based private equity arm Sagard, and Anglo-US investment firm TowerBrook.

Sabena Technics says its parent TAT Group has entered exclusive negotiations with the investor group to sell a majority stake in the MRO specialist, with a plan to finalise the transaction during second quarter 2019.

TAT Group intends to keep a minority shareholding in the Paris-headquartered MRO provider, which supports commercial and military aircraft and has facilities in Bordeaux, Dinard, Nimes, Toulouse and a jointly operated component repair shop with Air France-KLM’s technical arm in Singapore.

The proposed sale was revealed to the MRO provider’s works council today.

Sabena Technics employs around 2,200 staff members and generates revenues around €400 million ($453 million), its website indicates.

The company is a member of Airbus's MRO Alliance and paints, as a subcontractor to the airframer, factory-new aircraft at a purpose-built facility in Toulouse.

However, the MRO also supports other manufacturer's equipment and recently gained approval to support Boeing 787s.

Sabena Technics has a plan to increase its turnover to €600 million until 2021, but acknowledges fresh investment is required to realise that strategy with “tomorrow’s challenges”.

“With the support of its new shareholders… Sabena Technics will be able to pursue the ambitious development policy,” it says.

The new owners will be “reinforcing growth opportunities” and provide “significant resources to expand [Sabena Technics’] offer through external growth,” the MRO provider adds.

It notes that the company is “evolving in a dynamic market” and that the business “has always been able to transform and adapt itself to the evolutions of this sector”.

Previously, Sabena Technics pursued a plan to establish an hour-based component maintenance programme and equipment pool for Airbus A320 and A330 operators.

But the project was abandoned in 2014. Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance then acquired Sabena Technics' former component shop Barfield in Miami and AAR took over operations in Europe.

Under the new acquisition plan Sabena Technics chief executive Rodolphe Marchais is to move to the supervisor board as president, while operating chief Philippe Rochet is take over as chief executive.

Jean Marc Schaefer, Gilles Foultier, Philippe Delisle and Fabrice Dumas are set to stay in their current positions as finance chief, executive vice-president group military, chief executive in Dinard, and chief executive in Nimes, respectively.

No financial details have been disclosed about the planned transaction.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

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